From the Director: April H-1B Visa Rush

By Steve Tobocman

In case you didn’t believe that American employers were interested in international talent, perhaps the immigration headline from earlier this month will convince you.  On April 5th, the U.S. immigration service (USCIS) closed the 2014 H-1B application process, a mere four days after opening the process. During that time, it received over 124,000 applications for the 85,000 spots available (65,000 normal H-1B visa slots and 20,000 with advanced degree exemptions).  Not since 2008, has USCIS witnessed such an onrush of applications for visas to be issued beginning October 14.  A lottery was held to determine which lucky U.S. employers would be allowed to hire the skilled immigrant workers they had identified.

While Global Detroit does not have a specific position on federal immigration reform or the number of H-1B visas, it has sought to develop and capitalize on strategies that will bring economic growth and jobs to Metro Detroit.  One such strategy has been the Global Detroit Nearshoring initiative. Nearshoring refers to the practice of attracting global businesses to Detroit whose growth and expansion is otherwise hindered by restrictive U.S. immigration laws.

Recently, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel noted in his blog that, “[t]his is a problem that adversely affects every industry all across the US. The American economy creates 120,000 new computer-related jobs annually that require a bachelor’s degree, but we are currently producing about 51,000 graduates with a degree in computer science each year.”

While federal immigration reform may greatly impact and help resolve these issues, Global Detroit has been moving forward on this strategy. Since the release of the Global Detroit report in 2010, Global Detroit retained a consulting firm to research the potential for this concept to be successful in Detroit, and to identify the sectors and businesses most likely to take advantage of this opportunity.  Click here to view Global Detroit’ s 2012 report on Detroit-Windsor Near-Shoring.

Interested in helping Global Detroit on its Nearshoing Initiative?

We are in process of implementing the strategies recommended by this report, including assembling a team of lawyers, accountants, and other business advisors who can assist global firms considering a Detroit-Windsor nearshoring option.  If you are interested in joining our nearshoring team, please contact Steve Tobocman at

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